Presentation on theme: "What is Postcolonialism? By definition, postcolonialism is a period of time after colonialism, and postcolonial literature is characterized by its opposition."— Presentation transcript:
What is Postcolonialism? By definition, postcolonialism is a period of time after colonialism, and postcolonial literature is characterized by its opposition to the colonial. Despite a consensus on general themes of postcolonialism, there is an ongoing debate regarding the meaning of postcolonialism. Many critics now propose that the term should include the literatures of Canada, the United States, and Australia.
Want Literature? Postcolonial literature often focuses on race relations and the effects of racism and usually indicts white and/or colonial societies. Postcolonial literature often records racism or a history of a genocide, including slavery, apartheid, and the mass extinction of peoples (i.e: the Aborigines in Australia) Most significantly, is the fact that the nature and subject of most postcolonial writings have been dictated due to the very different geographical, historical, social, religious, and economic concerns on the different ex-colonies.
Authors’ Commentary Author Gina Wisker notes that postcolonial texts tends to produce guilt or feelings of inherited complicity in many readers. While author Deepika Bahri states that the use of the term “postcolonialism” allows for a yoking together of a very diverse range of experiences, cultures, and problems. Ultimately, Simon During argues that postcolonialism is “the need, in nations, or groups, which have been victims of imperialism to achieve an identity uncontaminated by universalist or Eurocentric concepts or images.”
Postcolonial Theories/Studies Postcolonial theory has been mainly influenced by poststructuralist thought and has produced a favorite subject matter in many texts, based on: power, resistance, and identity. Finally, postcolonial studies tend to be contingent, unstable, contradictory, and/or in process. They also, tend to be highly self-critical and thus always engaged in active questioning.
“Jane’s All White” Jane Eyre is good for a postcolonial reading due to the Christianity in the novel. Christianity is full of polar opposites like good/bad, heaven/hell, and God/devil. Jane Eyre also includes white/black into this list of dichotomies. These white/black opposites include beauty/ugliness, cosy domesticity/the wild, virgin sexuality/promiscuity, cleanliness/dirt, civilized/savage, sentient/mad. These dichotomies allude to postcolonial/racist undertones within the novel
Bronte loathes non-whites Rochester describing Bertha’s family is full of racism. He calls Bertha’s mother a “Creole” on page 326. That’s pretty racist if you ask me. He also says that Bertha has “pigmy intellect” on page 345. Apparently, pigmy does not only mean small, but it also means coming form India or Ethiopia. This implies that Indians and Ethiopians have an inferior intellect. This is probably what Rochester meant. He is very sneaky. “India is realized as a place in which good white people sacrifice themselves on a metaphorical cross and die.” (413). This ties back into Christian references and the idea that white people are good. St. John is a Christ figure for going to India. This promotes colonialism.
No, Wait--she Loathes All Non-Europeans -“For Bronte, sexual licentiousness and the native are represented as one and inseparable…. When seeking sexual comfort in Europe, Rochester looks for the antipodes of the Creole.” Europeans are far too proper to be good in bed. Rochester, on page 347, feels a sweet and fresh wind from Europe. Even the weather is better in Europe than elsewhere. Wonder if Bronte really hates foreigners.
Where “Jane’s All White” Went Wrong First things first: we concede that “Jane’s All White” got a few things right. The portrayal of Bertha does tend to support the idea that Charlotte Bronte and by extension Jane are racist and think British people are the most amazing thing in the world, ever. Most of the article, however, is a little bit ridiculous.
Where it Went Wrong Again. Of course Bronte’s upbringing affects her writing, how in the world could it not? Duh. That doesn’t mean she is racist. The use of light and dark descriptions of people are actually just symbolic not racist or indicative of the effects of colonialism for most of the novel. Hisotrically light and dark are common literary symbols. Why would they all of a sudden be racist symbols? They aren’t.
Real Meaning of Darkness Think about it. The characters that are described as dark aren’t the lowest of the low which a racist use of the concept would suggest. Mrs. Reed and Blanche are both “dark.” Granted they are really mean but they are also rich, accomplished and high class. Doesn’t it make sense that darkness in this case could just mean “be wary” or “this person is dangerous/ mean/bad/whatever”
Reason We Are Right. Rochester is described as dark. Especially as the gypsy. He is described as “black as a crock.” At the same time he is a protagonist. You are rooting for him and his happiness. Why would Bronte make her main character dark if that darkness is supposed to mean that she is racist? That is just dumb. Darkness really just acts to enhance the mystery of Rochester. It makes him more allusive and adds to the love story.
To Sum up Post-colonialism is some reference to colonies, imperialists, racism, culture differences and such in literature. It is confusing and subjective and is not a term to be thrown around willy nilly. Don’t jump to conclusions. Dark doesn’t always mean racist. The end.